A Toast To Champagne

Andrea here, just back from the RWA Conference, where as you can see from the photos we posted last week, a good time was had by all. In fact, July has been quite a month for festivities. Corks started popping on the first of the month, as many of our Wenches were showered with fabulous accolades and honors—bestseller lists, Top Pick reviews, award nominations, to mention just a few achievements. And then we had Fourth of July and Bastille Day . . .

Artsy glass of champagne  Which got me to thinking about champagne. (Yes, I will admit that Wenches lifted a few toasts in Washington.)

With its tickle and sparkle, champagne is such a happy wine. It always seems to add an effervescence to any occasion and has become synonymous with celebrations. So I decided to immerse myself in its history—in moderation, of course!—and discovered some fascinating facts and fun lore.

First things first. There are many sparkling wines produced around the world. However, to be legally labeled champagne, a wine must meet three criteria: It must come from the Champagne region of France; it must be made from pinot noir, pinot meunier or chardonnay grapes grown within the region, and it must undergo two fermentations—one in the barrel, and one in the bottle. All other bubblies must be labeled “methode champenoise.”

 Champagne—the name derives from the Latin ‘campus’, or field—is located about 100 miles east of Paris and is characterized by rolling hills, chalky soil, and cool winters. Grapes have been cultivated there since Roman times, and during the Middle Ages, Pope Urban II declared the wines from the region were the best in the world, making them in much demand for religious ceremonies, as well as royal celebrations and coronations.

18champagne region  As the great cathedral at Reims established the city as one of the prominent Church centers in Europe, the surrounding Benedictine monasteries became the leading winemakers in the region. For several centuries they were rivals with Burgundy for bragging rights of ’Best in France.” However, as winemaking skills grew more sophisticated, Burgundy’s climate and soil gave it an edge in making rich, complex wines. So the monks of Champagne got creative. They began experimenting with different techniques, like removing the grape skins from the juice in the early stages of fermentation. This created a lighter wine—up until this time, all wines were red.

The new style attracted much attention. Contemporary accounts waxed poetic over its nuances, giving wonderfully descriptive names to the colors. Some of my favorites include oeil de perdrix (partridge eye), couleur de miel (honey-colored), cerise (cherry pink) and fauve (tawny). These first “white” wines were particularly popular in England, due to the Marquess de Saint-Evremond, a courtier to Louis XIV who had fallen out of favor with the king. Saint-Evremond established himself as the arbiter of taste in London during the 1660s, and as he loved the wines of Champagne, they were soon all the  vogue.

There was just one problem. These new, lighter wines had a tendency to develop bubbles–which at first was viewed as a fault. (This had to do with the cool Champagne winters, which stopped the yeast from fermenting in the barrels. Once the weather turned warmer, the fermentation started again, creating carbon dioxide . . . I’m no chemistry expert, but you get the gist.) The English actually liked the sparkly taste, but the Benedictine monks were determined to get rid of the noxious bubbles.

Dom PerignonJPG Enter Dom Perignon, who worked very hard at refining the process of his monastery’s winemaking. His tinkerings resulted in smaller, more delicate bubbles, and lo and behold, he actually came to favor the new creation—he is credited with the famous saying, “Come quickly—I think I am drinking the stars!”  

Another problem arose when the monks tried to bottle the wines. The pressure of the bubbles tended to explode the thin glass of the bottles, or blow out the hemp stoppers that were used in France to seal the wines. A thicker bottle was developed, and cork from Spain was found to withstand the force of the natural gases. Voila! Champagne was born.

Vintage champagne poster Over the years, other refinements were made to the methods of producing champagne. In the early 1800s, a woman is credited with creating an important innovation in the way champagne is made. Madame Cliquot took over the running of her late husband’s vineyards (Veuve—or widow—Cliquot is still one of the venerable champagne labels available in stores today.) Under her direction, the cellarmasters began rotating the bottles slightly every day in an effort to reduce the build-up of bubbles. This procedure, called "riddling," creates a more delicate, nuanced wine and is still done today by hand by the top champagne houses.

The House of Clicquot also developed the process called "disgorgement." This involves uncorking the wine during the second fermentation to remove the yeast sediment that has settled in the bottles (If left in the wine, it would create an unappetizing cloudy appearance.) The wine is then quickly resealed with a fresh cork before the gases can escape. As you can see, it’s a lengthy labor of love to create champagne, which explains its hefty price tag.

Now, a quick primer on the different types of champagne. A non vintage champagne, the most common type available, is made by blending wines of different years. Each champagne maker has its own “house” style, and its non vintage wines strive to have a consistent taste from year to year.

If the quality of a harvest is considered especially good during a certain year, a champagne house may declare a “vintage” year. This means that only the grapes from that year will be blended to make that bottling. As not every year
yields a “vintage” year, these wines are rarer and more expensive. (So when you see a specific date on a label—for example, Vintage 2009—that is why it costs more.)

And finally, there are the prestige cuvees, which are the “superstars” of a champagne house’s line. For example, Moet & Chandon features Dom Perignon and Roederer showcases Cristal. These wines are usually made from hand-selected grapes picked in the top vineyards and coddled through a longer aging process—anywhere from five to seven years. 

Champagne coupe   The lore surrounding champagne is just as enjoyable as the wine.  Here are a few random tidbits that caught my fancy. The coupe, or shallow, saucer-shaped champagne glass, is said to have been modeled on the exact shape of Diane de Poiters’s left breast. (Though some claim it was Madame Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress, or Marie Antoinette.) Whatever the case, experts agree that the wine should never be drunk from a shallow glass, for the bubbles dissipate far too fast. The preferred shape is a flute, and if you own crystal, use it, for the tiny irregularities in the glass are said to prolong the sparkle.

And speaking of crystal, Cristal, the favored libation of today’s glitterati, was created in 1876 by the House of Roederer for Tsar Alexander II of Russia, who wanted a wine that the masses were not permitted to buy. He demanded a clear bottle with a flat bottom, so that an assassin could not hide a bomb in the wine. The normal indentation at the bottom of a bottle is there to help distill the pressure, so to make the bottom flat, Roederer had to commission a unique special bottle made of heavy lead crystal, which is still used today.

Vintage champagne art The rich and famous have always had a taste for champagne. Napoleon was said to be horrified by Josephine’s champagne bills. But then, who was he to talk, seeing as he is reputed to have said, “Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it.” Winston Churchill, another legendary wartime leader, was also a real aficionado of the bubbly and exclaimed to his commanders, “Remember, gentlemen, it's not just France we are fighting for, it's Champagne!" And then there is Mark Twain, who quipped, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."

Which reminds me of my first real experience with champagne. When I was a junior in high school I went on a summer school program to Paris. The parents of one of my fellow students was good friends with the owner of Moet & Chandon, so we were all invited out to the town of Epernay in Champagne to tour the caves and see how the wine was made. Afterward, they treated us to a special tasting of the wine. Needless to say, we sixteen-year-olds were absolutely thrilled at having adults offer us alcohol—legally!—and it was not just a thimbleful. There we were in a historic chateau and the bubbly was flowing. And flowing. We felt very chic and sophisticated . . . and it was a bunch of VERY happy kids who managed to stumble back to the train for the return to Paris. Every time I walk through a wine store I smile when I see a bottle of Moet White Star!

 So, do you love champagne as much as I do? And do you only drink for a very special occasion, or do you ever crack open a bottle to lift your spirits and make an ordinary day a real celebration? And have you any special champagne memory to share?  To celeberate sharing with us, a winner will be chosen at random to win a copy of my book, Seduced By A Spy.

100 thoughts on “A Toast To Champagne”

  1. Champagne!!! My favorite drink in the whole world. I drink it whenever and wherever I can get it.
    Perhaps my happiest champagne memory comes from a trip many years ago to Disney World with my DH. Many years earlier I’d had a drink in Switzerland that I absolutely loved- it was champagne with some kind of red liqueur in it. I never knew the name and was never able to order it again- until that trip to WDW and dinner at the Bistro de Paris. There I discovered that my remembered delight was called a Kir Royale.
    Now I still drink champagne whenever I can, but frequently it is as Kir Royale.
    I only wish that (since I teach at an inner city Catholic school with the salary that predicts) my “wherever and whenever” could be more often!

    Reply
  2. Champagne!!! My favorite drink in the whole world. I drink it whenever and wherever I can get it.
    Perhaps my happiest champagne memory comes from a trip many years ago to Disney World with my DH. Many years earlier I’d had a drink in Switzerland that I absolutely loved- it was champagne with some kind of red liqueur in it. I never knew the name and was never able to order it again- until that trip to WDW and dinner at the Bistro de Paris. There I discovered that my remembered delight was called a Kir Royale.
    Now I still drink champagne whenever I can, but frequently it is as Kir Royale.
    I only wish that (since I teach at an inner city Catholic school with the salary that predicts) my “wherever and whenever” could be more often!

    Reply
  3. Champagne!!! My favorite drink in the whole world. I drink it whenever and wherever I can get it.
    Perhaps my happiest champagne memory comes from a trip many years ago to Disney World with my DH. Many years earlier I’d had a drink in Switzerland that I absolutely loved- it was champagne with some kind of red liqueur in it. I never knew the name and was never able to order it again- until that trip to WDW and dinner at the Bistro de Paris. There I discovered that my remembered delight was called a Kir Royale.
    Now I still drink champagne whenever I can, but frequently it is as Kir Royale.
    I only wish that (since I teach at an inner city Catholic school with the salary that predicts) my “wherever and whenever” could be more often!

    Reply
  4. Champagne!!! My favorite drink in the whole world. I drink it whenever and wherever I can get it.
    Perhaps my happiest champagne memory comes from a trip many years ago to Disney World with my DH. Many years earlier I’d had a drink in Switzerland that I absolutely loved- it was champagne with some kind of red liqueur in it. I never knew the name and was never able to order it again- until that trip to WDW and dinner at the Bistro de Paris. There I discovered that my remembered delight was called a Kir Royale.
    Now I still drink champagne whenever I can, but frequently it is as Kir Royale.
    I only wish that (since I teach at an inner city Catholic school with the salary that predicts) my “wherever and whenever” could be more often!

    Reply
  5. Champagne!!! My favorite drink in the whole world. I drink it whenever and wherever I can get it.
    Perhaps my happiest champagne memory comes from a trip many years ago to Disney World with my DH. Many years earlier I’d had a drink in Switzerland that I absolutely loved- it was champagne with some kind of red liqueur in it. I never knew the name and was never able to order it again- until that trip to WDW and dinner at the Bistro de Paris. There I discovered that my remembered delight was called a Kir Royale.
    Now I still drink champagne whenever I can, but frequently it is as Kir Royale.
    I only wish that (since I teach at an inner city Catholic school with the salary that predicts) my “wherever and whenever” could be more often!

    Reply
  6. Thank you for a wonderful history lesson on champagne. I do enjoy it on occasion, but my husband doesn’t like it all that much. As for champagne stories, the only real on is about the champagne punch we make. I know, a sacrilege, but is easy and tastes wonderful. You use a cheap pink champagne for the punch which gives it a wonderful color. It looks nice, a nice pink crystal with tiny bubbles. We have fixed it for showers, receptions, and even one wedding. It has a delightful flavor and goes down much too easily.

    Reply
  7. Thank you for a wonderful history lesson on champagne. I do enjoy it on occasion, but my husband doesn’t like it all that much. As for champagne stories, the only real on is about the champagne punch we make. I know, a sacrilege, but is easy and tastes wonderful. You use a cheap pink champagne for the punch which gives it a wonderful color. It looks nice, a nice pink crystal with tiny bubbles. We have fixed it for showers, receptions, and even one wedding. It has a delightful flavor and goes down much too easily.

    Reply
  8. Thank you for a wonderful history lesson on champagne. I do enjoy it on occasion, but my husband doesn’t like it all that much. As for champagne stories, the only real on is about the champagne punch we make. I know, a sacrilege, but is easy and tastes wonderful. You use a cheap pink champagne for the punch which gives it a wonderful color. It looks nice, a nice pink crystal with tiny bubbles. We have fixed it for showers, receptions, and even one wedding. It has a delightful flavor and goes down much too easily.

    Reply
  9. Thank you for a wonderful history lesson on champagne. I do enjoy it on occasion, but my husband doesn’t like it all that much. As for champagne stories, the only real on is about the champagne punch we make. I know, a sacrilege, but is easy and tastes wonderful. You use a cheap pink champagne for the punch which gives it a wonderful color. It looks nice, a nice pink crystal with tiny bubbles. We have fixed it for showers, receptions, and even one wedding. It has a delightful flavor and goes down much too easily.

    Reply
  10. Thank you for a wonderful history lesson on champagne. I do enjoy it on occasion, but my husband doesn’t like it all that much. As for champagne stories, the only real on is about the champagne punch we make. I know, a sacrilege, but is easy and tastes wonderful. You use a cheap pink champagne for the punch which gives it a wonderful color. It looks nice, a nice pink crystal with tiny bubbles. We have fixed it for showers, receptions, and even one wedding. It has a delightful flavor and goes down much too easily.

    Reply
  11. Very interesting post. Though I’m french I admit I didn’t know half of it (ok most of it). I visited the caves of “Canard Duchêsne” 8 years ago and really enjoyed it. I was pregnant at the time so no wine tasting for me.
    I’m glad you were able to visit too. It must have felt so different from what you’re used to in the US. (french countryside can be extremely… what is the word… picturesque ?)

    Reply
  12. Very interesting post. Though I’m french I admit I didn’t know half of it (ok most of it). I visited the caves of “Canard Duchêsne” 8 years ago and really enjoyed it. I was pregnant at the time so no wine tasting for me.
    I’m glad you were able to visit too. It must have felt so different from what you’re used to in the US. (french countryside can be extremely… what is the word… picturesque ?)

    Reply
  13. Very interesting post. Though I’m french I admit I didn’t know half of it (ok most of it). I visited the caves of “Canard Duchêsne” 8 years ago and really enjoyed it. I was pregnant at the time so no wine tasting for me.
    I’m glad you were able to visit too. It must have felt so different from what you’re used to in the US. (french countryside can be extremely… what is the word… picturesque ?)

    Reply
  14. Very interesting post. Though I’m french I admit I didn’t know half of it (ok most of it). I visited the caves of “Canard Duchêsne” 8 years ago and really enjoyed it. I was pregnant at the time so no wine tasting for me.
    I’m glad you were able to visit too. It must have felt so different from what you’re used to in the US. (french countryside can be extremely… what is the word… picturesque ?)

    Reply
  15. Very interesting post. Though I’m french I admit I didn’t know half of it (ok most of it). I visited the caves of “Canard Duchêsne” 8 years ago and really enjoyed it. I was pregnant at the time so no wine tasting for me.
    I’m glad you were able to visit too. It must have felt so different from what you’re used to in the US. (french countryside can be extremely… what is the word… picturesque ?)

    Reply
  16. Fascinating post. Champagne is my preferred poison, and we always drink it at holidays in our gamily. It was my secret weapon to get my daughters to do all the Thanksgiving dinner dishes without complaint. Of course, they would get so tipsy there was a mishap or two. One extravagant Christmas I bought my husband a bottle of Dom, which we drank together New Year’s Eve. But I’m just as happy with cheap Champagne, and lots of it!

    Reply
  17. Fascinating post. Champagne is my preferred poison, and we always drink it at holidays in our gamily. It was my secret weapon to get my daughters to do all the Thanksgiving dinner dishes without complaint. Of course, they would get so tipsy there was a mishap or two. One extravagant Christmas I bought my husband a bottle of Dom, which we drank together New Year’s Eve. But I’m just as happy with cheap Champagne, and lots of it!

    Reply
  18. Fascinating post. Champagne is my preferred poison, and we always drink it at holidays in our gamily. It was my secret weapon to get my daughters to do all the Thanksgiving dinner dishes without complaint. Of course, they would get so tipsy there was a mishap or two. One extravagant Christmas I bought my husband a bottle of Dom, which we drank together New Year’s Eve. But I’m just as happy with cheap Champagne, and lots of it!

    Reply
  19. Fascinating post. Champagne is my preferred poison, and we always drink it at holidays in our gamily. It was my secret weapon to get my daughters to do all the Thanksgiving dinner dishes without complaint. Of course, they would get so tipsy there was a mishap or two. One extravagant Christmas I bought my husband a bottle of Dom, which we drank together New Year’s Eve. But I’m just as happy with cheap Champagne, and lots of it!

    Reply
  20. Fascinating post. Champagne is my preferred poison, and we always drink it at holidays in our gamily. It was my secret weapon to get my daughters to do all the Thanksgiving dinner dishes without complaint. Of course, they would get so tipsy there was a mishap or two. One extravagant Christmas I bought my husband a bottle of Dom, which we drank together New Year’s Eve. But I’m just as happy with cheap Champagne, and lots of it!

    Reply
  21. Hi Lady Doc,
    Oh, I love a Kir Royale too! It has such a lovely color, and makes one feel very chic and sophisticated—which is part of champagne’ allure, I think.

    Reply
  22. Hi Lady Doc,
    Oh, I love a Kir Royale too! It has such a lovely color, and makes one feel very chic and sophisticated—which is part of champagne’ allure, I think.

    Reply
  23. Hi Lady Doc,
    Oh, I love a Kir Royale too! It has such a lovely color, and makes one feel very chic and sophisticated—which is part of champagne’ allure, I think.

    Reply
  24. Hi Lady Doc,
    Oh, I love a Kir Royale too! It has such a lovely color, and makes one feel very chic and sophisticated—which is part of champagne’ allure, I think.

    Reply
  25. Hi Lady Doc,
    Oh, I love a Kir Royale too! It has such a lovely color, and makes one feel very chic and sophisticated—which is part of champagne’ allure, I think.

    Reply
  26. So glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. Purists may cringe at mixing champagne in a punch but I agree with you—it adds a great sparkle to any concoction!
    Maggie, I love your Thanksgiving story! I’m sure your daughters will remember that radition forever (despite a broken dish or two.) And Dom P at New Year? h, it doesn’t get any better than that!

    Reply
  27. So glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. Purists may cringe at mixing champagne in a punch but I agree with you—it adds a great sparkle to any concoction!
    Maggie, I love your Thanksgiving story! I’m sure your daughters will remember that radition forever (despite a broken dish or two.) And Dom P at New Year? h, it doesn’t get any better than that!

    Reply
  28. So glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. Purists may cringe at mixing champagne in a punch but I agree with you—it adds a great sparkle to any concoction!
    Maggie, I love your Thanksgiving story! I’m sure your daughters will remember that radition forever (despite a broken dish or two.) And Dom P at New Year? h, it doesn’t get any better than that!

    Reply
  29. So glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. Purists may cringe at mixing champagne in a punch but I agree with you—it adds a great sparkle to any concoction!
    Maggie, I love your Thanksgiving story! I’m sure your daughters will remember that radition forever (despite a broken dish or two.) And Dom P at New Year? h, it doesn’t get any better than that!

    Reply
  30. So glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. Purists may cringe at mixing champagne in a punch but I agree with you—it adds a great sparkle to any concoction!
    Maggie, I love your Thanksgiving story! I’m sure your daughters will remember that radition forever (despite a broken dish or two.) And Dom P at New Year? h, it doesn’t get any better than that!

    Reply
  31. Emmanuelle, it was such a wonderful experience to see the champagne caves, with the layers of dust and old wooden racks and barrels dating back centuries. As for the French countryside, I love the sense of rich history you see in practically every town and village.

    Reply
  32. Emmanuelle, it was such a wonderful experience to see the champagne caves, with the layers of dust and old wooden racks and barrels dating back centuries. As for the French countryside, I love the sense of rich history you see in practically every town and village.

    Reply
  33. Emmanuelle, it was such a wonderful experience to see the champagne caves, with the layers of dust and old wooden racks and barrels dating back centuries. As for the French countryside, I love the sense of rich history you see in practically every town and village.

    Reply
  34. Emmanuelle, it was such a wonderful experience to see the champagne caves, with the layers of dust and old wooden racks and barrels dating back centuries. As for the French countryside, I love the sense of rich history you see in practically every town and village.

    Reply
  35. Emmanuelle, it was such a wonderful experience to see the champagne caves, with the layers of dust and old wooden racks and barrels dating back centuries. As for the French countryside, I love the sense of rich history you see in practically every town and village.

    Reply
  36. I adore champagne, and though it’s not a ‘purist’ size, am so happy it comes in splits. There are nights when I only want a glass, maybe a glass and a half and let’s face it, if we’re going to open the bottle, we don’t want to waste a drop, but don’t want to drink an entire bottle. (yes, I know, of course we really do, but I’m trying to be genteel 😛 )
    I have no fond champagne stories. Well, there was the look on my husband’s face the first time he drank it, and the fact that he sneezed for 15 minutes…but that’s about it. 😉

    Reply
  37. I adore champagne, and though it’s not a ‘purist’ size, am so happy it comes in splits. There are nights when I only want a glass, maybe a glass and a half and let’s face it, if we’re going to open the bottle, we don’t want to waste a drop, but don’t want to drink an entire bottle. (yes, I know, of course we really do, but I’m trying to be genteel 😛 )
    I have no fond champagne stories. Well, there was the look on my husband’s face the first time he drank it, and the fact that he sneezed for 15 minutes…but that’s about it. 😉

    Reply
  38. I adore champagne, and though it’s not a ‘purist’ size, am so happy it comes in splits. There are nights when I only want a glass, maybe a glass and a half and let’s face it, if we’re going to open the bottle, we don’t want to waste a drop, but don’t want to drink an entire bottle. (yes, I know, of course we really do, but I’m trying to be genteel 😛 )
    I have no fond champagne stories. Well, there was the look on my husband’s face the first time he drank it, and the fact that he sneezed for 15 minutes…but that’s about it. 😉

    Reply
  39. I adore champagne, and though it’s not a ‘purist’ size, am so happy it comes in splits. There are nights when I only want a glass, maybe a glass and a half and let’s face it, if we’re going to open the bottle, we don’t want to waste a drop, but don’t want to drink an entire bottle. (yes, I know, of course we really do, but I’m trying to be genteel 😛 )
    I have no fond champagne stories. Well, there was the look on my husband’s face the first time he drank it, and the fact that he sneezed for 15 minutes…but that’s about it. 😉

    Reply
  40. I adore champagne, and though it’s not a ‘purist’ size, am so happy it comes in splits. There are nights when I only want a glass, maybe a glass and a half and let’s face it, if we’re going to open the bottle, we don’t want to waste a drop, but don’t want to drink an entire bottle. (yes, I know, of course we really do, but I’m trying to be genteel 😛 )
    I have no fond champagne stories. Well, there was the look on my husband’s face the first time he drank it, and the fact that he sneezed for 15 minutes…but that’s about it. 😉

    Reply
  41. At the risk of being too political, the last time I drank champagne was election night last year. We wanted our then 4-year-old daughter to share in the celebration, so we mixed her a mimosa with just a tiny splash of champagne and a ton of orange juice. She took one sip, set it aside, and demanded chocolate milk instead–but when I tried to put the milk in a regular cup, she insisted on one of the special glasses we were using! For several weeks thereafter whenever I served her orange juice, she fixed me with a stern look and asked if this was the funny-tasting orange juice.
    I still have the cork from that bottle on my desk at work. Normally I support our Washington and Oregon wineries, but this one time I sprang for the Veuve Cliquot. I have to say, I’m not that crazy about the taste of champagne, though. I drink it for big celebrations because breaking out the riesling or the merlot or the tawny port just doesn’t have that same festive and traditional ring.

    Reply
  42. At the risk of being too political, the last time I drank champagne was election night last year. We wanted our then 4-year-old daughter to share in the celebration, so we mixed her a mimosa with just a tiny splash of champagne and a ton of orange juice. She took one sip, set it aside, and demanded chocolate milk instead–but when I tried to put the milk in a regular cup, she insisted on one of the special glasses we were using! For several weeks thereafter whenever I served her orange juice, she fixed me with a stern look and asked if this was the funny-tasting orange juice.
    I still have the cork from that bottle on my desk at work. Normally I support our Washington and Oregon wineries, but this one time I sprang for the Veuve Cliquot. I have to say, I’m not that crazy about the taste of champagne, though. I drink it for big celebrations because breaking out the riesling or the merlot or the tawny port just doesn’t have that same festive and traditional ring.

    Reply
  43. At the risk of being too political, the last time I drank champagne was election night last year. We wanted our then 4-year-old daughter to share in the celebration, so we mixed her a mimosa with just a tiny splash of champagne and a ton of orange juice. She took one sip, set it aside, and demanded chocolate milk instead–but when I tried to put the milk in a regular cup, she insisted on one of the special glasses we were using! For several weeks thereafter whenever I served her orange juice, she fixed me with a stern look and asked if this was the funny-tasting orange juice.
    I still have the cork from that bottle on my desk at work. Normally I support our Washington and Oregon wineries, but this one time I sprang for the Veuve Cliquot. I have to say, I’m not that crazy about the taste of champagne, though. I drink it for big celebrations because breaking out the riesling or the merlot or the tawny port just doesn’t have that same festive and traditional ring.

    Reply
  44. At the risk of being too political, the last time I drank champagne was election night last year. We wanted our then 4-year-old daughter to share in the celebration, so we mixed her a mimosa with just a tiny splash of champagne and a ton of orange juice. She took one sip, set it aside, and demanded chocolate milk instead–but when I tried to put the milk in a regular cup, she insisted on one of the special glasses we were using! For several weeks thereafter whenever I served her orange juice, she fixed me with a stern look and asked if this was the funny-tasting orange juice.
    I still have the cork from that bottle on my desk at work. Normally I support our Washington and Oregon wineries, but this one time I sprang for the Veuve Cliquot. I have to say, I’m not that crazy about the taste of champagne, though. I drink it for big celebrations because breaking out the riesling or the merlot or the tawny port just doesn’t have that same festive and traditional ring.

    Reply
  45. At the risk of being too political, the last time I drank champagne was election night last year. We wanted our then 4-year-old daughter to share in the celebration, so we mixed her a mimosa with just a tiny splash of champagne and a ton of orange juice. She took one sip, set it aside, and demanded chocolate milk instead–but when I tried to put the milk in a regular cup, she insisted on one of the special glasses we were using! For several weeks thereafter whenever I served her orange juice, she fixed me with a stern look and asked if this was the funny-tasting orange juice.
    I still have the cork from that bottle on my desk at work. Normally I support our Washington and Oregon wineries, but this one time I sprang for the Veuve Cliquot. I have to say, I’m not that crazy about the taste of champagne, though. I drink it for big celebrations because breaking out the riesling or the merlot or the tawny port just doesn’t have that same festive and traditional ring.

    Reply
  46. A fun anecdote, Susan. (I like the image of chocolate milk in a flute.) In another fifteen years, you can remind your daughter about not liking the funny tasting orange juice!

    Reply
  47. A fun anecdote, Susan. (I like the image of chocolate milk in a flute.) In another fifteen years, you can remind your daughter about not liking the funny tasting orange juice!

    Reply
  48. A fun anecdote, Susan. (I like the image of chocolate milk in a flute.) In another fifteen years, you can remind your daughter about not liking the funny tasting orange juice!

    Reply
  49. A fun anecdote, Susan. (I like the image of chocolate milk in a flute.) In another fifteen years, you can remind your daughter about not liking the funny tasting orange juice!

    Reply
  50. A fun anecdote, Susan. (I like the image of chocolate milk in a flute.) In another fifteen years, you can remind your daughter about not liking the funny tasting orange juice!

    Reply
  51. Andrea, I should have qualified that. I have no fond champagne stories I can cell since mine are centered for the most part in Las Vegas…when I go with the BFF and leave the hubby at home 😉
    Now, if you want to hear the rest of the hubby story where it went from his first taste to wearing a beanie with a spinning top on it…

    Reply
  52. Andrea, I should have qualified that. I have no fond champagne stories I can cell since mine are centered for the most part in Las Vegas…when I go with the BFF and leave the hubby at home 😉
    Now, if you want to hear the rest of the hubby story where it went from his first taste to wearing a beanie with a spinning top on it…

    Reply
  53. Andrea, I should have qualified that. I have no fond champagne stories I can cell since mine are centered for the most part in Las Vegas…when I go with the BFF and leave the hubby at home 😉
    Now, if you want to hear the rest of the hubby story where it went from his first taste to wearing a beanie with a spinning top on it…

    Reply
  54. Andrea, I should have qualified that. I have no fond champagne stories I can cell since mine are centered for the most part in Las Vegas…when I go with the BFF and leave the hubby at home 😉
    Now, if you want to hear the rest of the hubby story where it went from his first taste to wearing a beanie with a spinning top on it…

    Reply
  55. Andrea, I should have qualified that. I have no fond champagne stories I can cell since mine are centered for the most part in Las Vegas…when I go with the BFF and leave the hubby at home 😉
    Now, if you want to hear the rest of the hubby story where it went from his first taste to wearing a beanie with a spinning top on it…

    Reply
  56. I liked the information about the champagne, most of which was new to me. One thing not mentioned was the difference in sweetness of the various bottles and how to tell which one you are most likely to enjoy. I’m NOT an expert, but it seems I remember that brut is a little sweet, whereas sec is drier. If you prefer reisling to sauvignon, you’d probalby like brut better. Please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Reply
  57. I liked the information about the champagne, most of which was new to me. One thing not mentioned was the difference in sweetness of the various bottles and how to tell which one you are most likely to enjoy. I’m NOT an expert, but it seems I remember that brut is a little sweet, whereas sec is drier. If you prefer reisling to sauvignon, you’d probalby like brut better. Please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Reply
  58. I liked the information about the champagne, most of which was new to me. One thing not mentioned was the difference in sweetness of the various bottles and how to tell which one you are most likely to enjoy. I’m NOT an expert, but it seems I remember that brut is a little sweet, whereas sec is drier. If you prefer reisling to sauvignon, you’d probalby like brut better. Please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Reply
  59. I liked the information about the champagne, most of which was new to me. One thing not mentioned was the difference in sweetness of the various bottles and how to tell which one you are most likely to enjoy. I’m NOT an expert, but it seems I remember that brut is a little sweet, whereas sec is drier. If you prefer reisling to sauvignon, you’d probalby like brut better. Please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Reply
  60. I liked the information about the champagne, most of which was new to me. One thing not mentioned was the difference in sweetness of the various bottles and how to tell which one you are most likely to enjoy. I’m NOT an expert, but it seems I remember that brut is a little sweet, whereas sec is drier. If you prefer reisling to sauvignon, you’d probalby like brut better. Please, someone, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Reply
  61. Kathy, I believe that it’s the other way around (and just double-checked a wine blog to refresh my memory) Brut is dry . . . most standard house champagnes are Brut. Sec is a little sweeter. According to my source, the range is as following, going from driest to sweetest: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec (Demi sec being the sweetest type of champagne.) Hope that helps!

    Reply
  62. Kathy, I believe that it’s the other way around (and just double-checked a wine blog to refresh my memory) Brut is dry . . . most standard house champagnes are Brut. Sec is a little sweeter. According to my source, the range is as following, going from driest to sweetest: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec (Demi sec being the sweetest type of champagne.) Hope that helps!

    Reply
  63. Kathy, I believe that it’s the other way around (and just double-checked a wine blog to refresh my memory) Brut is dry . . . most standard house champagnes are Brut. Sec is a little sweeter. According to my source, the range is as following, going from driest to sweetest: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec (Demi sec being the sweetest type of champagne.) Hope that helps!

    Reply
  64. Kathy, I believe that it’s the other way around (and just double-checked a wine blog to refresh my memory) Brut is dry . . . most standard house champagnes are Brut. Sec is a little sweeter. According to my source, the range is as following, going from driest to sweetest: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec (Demi sec being the sweetest type of champagne.) Hope that helps!

    Reply
  65. Kathy, I believe that it’s the other way around (and just double-checked a wine blog to refresh my memory) Brut is dry . . . most standard house champagnes are Brut. Sec is a little sweeter. According to my source, the range is as following, going from driest to sweetest: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec (Demi sec being the sweetest type of champagne.) Hope that helps!

    Reply
  66. I have no champagne stories to tell. The sad truth of the matter (as my sister is wont to point out to me) is that I have no class. This doesn’t mean I’m a beer drinker, but I really don’t enjoy the taste of anything with fizz, or alcohol, or any combination thereof. Sad but true. Water and juice are two very nice drinks, but seldom are they served in flutes.

    Reply
  67. I have no champagne stories to tell. The sad truth of the matter (as my sister is wont to point out to me) is that I have no class. This doesn’t mean I’m a beer drinker, but I really don’t enjoy the taste of anything with fizz, or alcohol, or any combination thereof. Sad but true. Water and juice are two very nice drinks, but seldom are they served in flutes.

    Reply
  68. I have no champagne stories to tell. The sad truth of the matter (as my sister is wont to point out to me) is that I have no class. This doesn’t mean I’m a beer drinker, but I really don’t enjoy the taste of anything with fizz, or alcohol, or any combination thereof. Sad but true. Water and juice are two very nice drinks, but seldom are they served in flutes.

    Reply
  69. I have no champagne stories to tell. The sad truth of the matter (as my sister is wont to point out to me) is that I have no class. This doesn’t mean I’m a beer drinker, but I really don’t enjoy the taste of anything with fizz, or alcohol, or any combination thereof. Sad but true. Water and juice are two very nice drinks, but seldom are they served in flutes.

    Reply
  70. I have no champagne stories to tell. The sad truth of the matter (as my sister is wont to point out to me) is that I have no class. This doesn’t mean I’m a beer drinker, but I really don’t enjoy the taste of anything with fizz, or alcohol, or any combination thereof. Sad but true. Water and juice are two very nice drinks, but seldom are they served in flutes.

    Reply
  71. No reason not to serve water or juice in a lovely flute, Piper. I seem to be the opposite of you—I love fizz in all my drinks. I love sparkling water and grape or apple juices, as well as champagne. Go figure!

    Reply
  72. No reason not to serve water or juice in a lovely flute, Piper. I seem to be the opposite of you—I love fizz in all my drinks. I love sparkling water and grape or apple juices, as well as champagne. Go figure!

    Reply
  73. No reason not to serve water or juice in a lovely flute, Piper. I seem to be the opposite of you—I love fizz in all my drinks. I love sparkling water and grape or apple juices, as well as champagne. Go figure!

    Reply
  74. No reason not to serve water or juice in a lovely flute, Piper. I seem to be the opposite of you—I love fizz in all my drinks. I love sparkling water and grape or apple juices, as well as champagne. Go figure!

    Reply
  75. No reason not to serve water or juice in a lovely flute, Piper. I seem to be the opposite of you—I love fizz in all my drinks. I love sparkling water and grape or apple juices, as well as champagne. Go figure!

    Reply
  76. Great post Andrea! Excellent info. I still have my first sip of champagne to look forward to. When… don’t know… but maybe someday. 🙂

    Reply
  77. Great post Andrea! Excellent info. I still have my first sip of champagne to look forward to. When… don’t know… but maybe someday. 🙂

    Reply
  78. Great post Andrea! Excellent info. I still have my first sip of champagne to look forward to. When… don’t know… but maybe someday. 🙂

    Reply
  79. Great post Andrea! Excellent info. I still have my first sip of champagne to look forward to. When… don’t know… but maybe someday. 🙂

    Reply
  80. Great post Andrea! Excellent info. I still have my first sip of champagne to look forward to. When… don’t know… but maybe someday. 🙂

    Reply

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